The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Stop Account Planning Turning Into This …
March 2, 2007, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Comment

Our job is relatively easy … take something complicated [known as the ‘client brief’] and make it simple [known as the ‘brand proposition/idea’] via exploring / investigating / validating true cultural / life / category insights about the potential/existing consumer [known as ‘planning’]

Unfortunately, it seems that more and more often, Account Planning is becoming this …

Take something complicated [known as the ‘client brief’] repeat it back to them using lots of complex words [known as ‘intellectual validation debate’] turn up a couple of weeks later with something totally generic [and/or irrelevant] unmotivating, bland and pointless [known as the ‘business strategy’] thanks to reading a couple of management books, a few of the latest trends blog sites, a bunch of badly conducted research papers and – if you absolutely must – the occasional conversation with the little-experienced / big ego’d / corporate-toady Marketing Director who – despite having a product aimed at single, unemployed mothers in the poorest housing estates of the country – lives in a 5 bedroomed mock-tudor house in the most affluent part of town, with his wife, kids, dog, Oxbridge certificate, BMW 5 series and wine-appreciating-Tuscan holidaying-Farah slack wearing friends. [known as ‘planning/research’]

OK, so not every planner and not every client is like this [infact the clip was sent to me by one of my own clients] however I can’t help but feel this ‘Management Consultantesque’ Account Planning trend is becoming more and more prevelent throughout the industry [for reasons I’ve written about many times in this blog] so I beg anyone out there who WANTS to be a planner [as well as anyone out there who IS a planner but feels they’re slipping into this way of working] to get out from under their desks and introduce themselves to the real lives [not just category / media habits] of the consumer.

Hell, you might be shocked – as well as pleasantly surprised – to find out what’s really going on behind their doors and minds and you know what, you might be able to help advertising be more creative, effective and popular again!

[Sacrum, please take careful note of what I am saying. Not only will it ensure you remain my/our friend, it will also ensure ‘greatness in great kingdom will be yours’]

23 Comments so far
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that dude is like Jertze Bilowski (sp?)on crack!

Comment by lauren

I am attention! I watch the carefully and sharpen my thinking pencil next time I’m in your housing estates.

I send you warmness.

Comment by Sacrum

There should be a dictionary of words that planners cannot use to describe a brief..

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Rob … one of the things we do with our creative brief is use the ‘MANDATORY’ box to highlight what we DON’T want to see coming back – it’s a quick way to ensure cliche-shite is kept to a miniumum.

As for single words we shouldn’t use, I wrote about some of them here …


… but can you suggest any more?

Oh and Sacrum, I am proud of you – but I’ll be testing you when I see you to ensure you’ve REALLY got it.

Comment by Rob

That mean Mr Robert come? You come and seeing Sacrum? Tell YES!

Comment by Sacrum

It is looking that way Sacrum – and if not me, probably Mr Andy and/or Mr George [if he his regained control over his bum]

Will give you dates when/if they’re sorted … dependent on other ‘parties’ I’m afraid.

Comment by Rob

By the way … where’s AGE???

I miss him … has he gone into sympathy pains over Billy.

Comment by Rob

Thats definitely the sort of thing we need to see go.

I wonder if the mandatory use of charades would make some good ads?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I EXCITEMENT! George bum was runny yes? Is solid bottom now? EXCITEMENTS.

Comment by Sacrum

You come Mr. Robert. You not come is not good. Make Sacrum sadness.

Comment by Sacrum

Oh man, Mr George is gonna love that you’ve just described his bottom as solid, Sacrum. I’m sure he’ll repay you with a visit now!

Comment by lauren

Lets all be very greatful that at this moment, George and his runnyish bottom are 30,000 feet in the air, oblivious that an image of him is making us all sick at the moment.

Hey guys, can you all check this bit of great writing out from AGE. It’s beautiful and an important reminder to us all to live life, not a lifestyle.

Comment by Rob

how fucking amazing is that piece! – i cried when i read it
(only a chick would cry over that, right Andy?).

you really should all read it, it’s beautiful.

Comment by lauren

Actually Lauren, it was Andy who told me about it – he thought it was spectacular writing and was equally moved by it. See, he can be emotional as well as a cranky old bastard too.

Comment by Rob

Thats really moving.
Saving up for the future is really just a gamble, a worthwhile one yes, but never put all your eggs in one basket unless the odds are irrefutable.

Comment by Rob Mortimer


Comment by Marcus Brown

Do you know what just hit me … all the people who regulary comment on this blog have the same sort of beliefs, values and goals as George, Andy and myself – which may sound scary but is actually a huge compliment.

When we started cynic, it’s goal was to become the ‘Home For The Disenfranchised Advertising Person’ … not because we hated what advertising had become [though there was an element of that] but because we hated what advertising PEOPLE had become.

There seemed to be a decline in values, honour, empathy, ingenuity, opinions and creativity … and whilst we’re not claiming to be saints [or the only ones who feel this way] it was the catalyst [and guiding principal] of what we became.

I know this sounds all Oscar speechy … but I just wanted to say ‘ta’ for being genuinely nice, interesting, caring people – and though I haven’t met all of you, I feel I can call you mates … and as someone who reserves that statment for a very, very select few, it is quite a comment from me, even if you [1] think I’m taking the piss [2] don’t care a damn, ha!

I hope that one day we may get an opportunity to not only meet – but do some work together – because even if it turns into something manic, I am sure it would be exciting, interesting and a bloody good laugh.

Comment by Rob

And I’ve just heard Billy is going home tomorrow. What brilliant news – for him, our bank balance and our insurance premium.

Comment by Rob

Oh you can be a sweetheart when you want to be Rob. You’re not as moving as Age was in his brilliant post, but you can tell it’s from the heart all the same.

Hope we get to work together again, I still look back on it as one of the best and scariest times of my career.

Comment by Pete



Never – you must be confusing me with someone else.

Andy perhaps … ???

Comment by Rob

No Robert, it was most definitely you and I have the written warning to prove it.

Give my best to Billy, did Andy really supply him with porn to watch in the hospital?

Comment by Pete

Very heartfelt 🙂

Whilst this is a very varied industry in terms of values and ideals, its good to know that there are people in this industry who really do think freely and objectively.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Oh yes Pete – I forgot about that.

Did I ever apologise? If I didn’t – sorry, haha!

And Rob, there are many, many people who think freely and objectively … the issue is either [1] they don’t express it [2] they can’t express it [3] there’s no point to express it … which is sort-of the antithesis of everything we – and our clients – believe.

Right, the ‘ad’ is over – byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Comment by Rob

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